For me both has same meaning but there should be difference which I couldn't figure out yet. Could you help?

duden dictionary:


  • @RudyVelthuis: Hättest Du mal die Dudeneinträge gelesen: niedrig: 1a. von geringer Höhe. gering: 2. einer niedrigen sozialen Schicht angehörend. Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 17:34
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    Niedrig ist tatsächlich von geringer Hohe, und nicht gering, usw. Kurz ist auch von geringer Länge, nehme ich an. Und trotzdem ist kurz != gering. Commented Feb 4, 2018 at 17:46

2 Answers 2


Niedrig means low (as opposite to hoch = high) and
gering means minor or small (as opposite to groß = big).

In some contexts, the differences are blurred, e.g.

Chances are low --> Die Chancen sind gering

But that is more an idiomatic difference than a bad translation. One also says

Die Chancen sind groß

and not so often

Die Chancen sind hoch


The chances are high

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    I don't think you really answer the question. In addition, I don't think there is a proper answer. One can say von niedriger Höhe or von geringer Höhe, I would never say Die Chancen sind groß, although it's not false.
    – RoyPJ
    Commented Feb 5, 2018 at 10:24
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    @RoyPJ "One can say von niedriger Höhe or von geringer Höhe" This wrong. It's either "niedrig" or "von geringer Höhe". Don't mix it.
    – Aloso
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 14:16
  • @Aloso: indeed. And to RoyPJ: Oh yes, there is a difference, in German as well as in English. Of course you can say von niedriger Höhe, like I could say my hovercraft is full of eels, but both would be wrong. <g> Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 18:52

Niedrig is related to height, whereas gering is more generally related to an amount.

Which of the two words fits better depends if the usage concerns something physical, or if the words are used in a figurative sense.

An examples for a physical usage is:

Die Mauer ist niedrig. (kleine Höhe)

It is possible to say

Das Brett hat eine geringe Länge. (= es ist kurz)

In a figurative sense, the differences are less:

Eine Person von niedrigem IQ. Eine Person von geringem IQ.

Sie hatte nur ein niedriges Einkommen. Sie hatte nur ein geringes Einkommen.

Both sentences are more or less equivalent.

  • "Niedrig" is not only related to height, but also to numbers. Since the IQ is a number, you should only say "von niedrigem IQ". However, you can say "von geringer Intelligenz".
    – Aloso
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 14:20
  • "She had a low income" and "she had a small income" are different in English too. Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 18:48
  • @Aloso: You are right that "niedrig" is also related to numbers. However I disagree with your conclusion that with numbers, only "niedrig" should be used.
    – EFrank
    Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 10:21

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